Study Reveals Decline in Meth Use Among Teens
Colorado teens are significantly more aware of the dangers of Meth.Friday, May 13, 2011
Above: Students at the Denver School for International Studies join Colorado Attorney General John Suthers in creating posters highlighting the dangers of using Meth. The project was part of a May 12 media event announcing the results of a study showing that Meth use among teens is declining in Colorado.
The Colorado Meth Project today released the results of the 2011 Colorado Meth Use & Attitudes Survey. The statewide survey found that compared to a 2009 benchmark conducted prior to the launch of the Colorado Meth Project, Colorado teens are more aware of the risks of trying Meth, are more likely to experience disapproval from their friends if they use the drug, and are less likely to try or use Meth as a result of the Colorado Meth Project’s public education campaign.
The new data, which was announced today by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, showed that 88% of Colorado teens now see “great risk” in trying Meth once or twice, up 9 points from the 2009 benchmark. Perception of specific risks of trying Meth also increased as 75% of teens believe there is great risk that Meth will lead to stealing (up 13 points), suffering tooth decay (83%, up 15 points), insomnia (73%, up 10 points), dying (79%, up 8 points), and losing control (90%, up 6 points). Majorities (94%) also say that trying Meth will put them at great risk of getting hooked on the drug (up 5 points).
“These results show that thanks to the Colorado Meth Project we are changing attitudes about methamphetamine and making real progress in reducing demand for the drug,” said Suthers. “Prevention is a crucial component of Colorado’s fight against Meth, particularly as we are seeing troubling increases in the drug’s availability. According to the Justice Department, the supply of Meth is at its highest level, highest purity, and lowest cost in five years, largely as a result of the Mexican drug cartels’ increased involvement in Meth trafficking.”
The survey results also showed that the Colorado Meth Project is an important source of information about methamphetamine. Of teens asked, 88% reported that the Colorado Meth Project ads made them less likely to try or use the drug, 81% said the ad campaign gave them new information or told them things they didn’t know about Meth, and 97% said that if their brother, sister, or friend were thinking about trying Meth, they would want that person to see or hear a Colorado Meth Project ad.
The survey also revealed widespread social disapproval of Meth use among Colorado teens. Eight in 10 (82%) now believe their friends would give them a “hard time” if they were to use Meth, up 6 points from the 2009 benchmark, and 63% of teens asked reported the Colorado Meth Project ads prompted them to tell someone not to use Meth.
“Teens are getting the message about the risks of using Meth, and more importantly, disapproval of the drug amongst their peers has increased,” said Julie Mordecai, Executive Director of the Colorado Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs. “It is not easy to change teen attitudes, and it is even more challenging to get them to speak up. The Colorado Meth Project is doing both and is making a real difference in communities across the state.”
Despite the progress made in changing attitudes, statewide data shows that teens remain at risk for Meth use. Roughly one in five teens (17%) said that Meth would be easy to get, consistent with the 2009 benchmark. According to the Colorado Division of Behavioral Health, 43% of adults in treatment for methamphetamine use in Colorado started using the drug before they were 17 years of age.
The 2011 survey results were announced at an event at the Denver Center for International Studies attended by students and faculty, Colorado Meth Project board members and donors, and other special guests. The Colorado Meth Project provided a sneak preview of the next wave of its statewide media campaign, including television, radio, online, and billboard advertising. Directed by Oscar-nominated director Darren Aronofsky,the new TV ads will begin airing later this year, and can be previewed on the Colorado Meth Project’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ColoradoMethProject.
The Colorado Meth Use & Attitudes Survey is conducted annually by the Colorado Meth Project to track attitudes and behaviors related to methamphetamine. A benchmark survey was conducted in 2009, prior to the launch of the Colorado Meth Project. The 2011Colorado Meth Use & Attitudes Survey was executed in March and April 2011 by GfK Roper Public Affairs. The survey was conducted by phone, with 602 teens in grades 7 through 12 participating. The survey report is available on the Colorado Meth Project’s website at www.ColoradoMethProject.org/Research.
About the Colorado Meth Project
The Colorado Meth Project is a non-profit organization that implements a range of advertising and community action programs to reduce methamphetamine use in the state. The Colorado Meth Project leverages a proven model that combines extensive research with a hard-hitting, integrated media campaign and community action. The Colorado Meth Project is affiliated with the Meth Project, a national non-profit organization headquartered in Palo Alto, California aimed at significantly reducing Meth use through public service messaging, public policy, and community outreach. For more information, visit www.ColoradoMethProject.org.
Major funding is provided by the Daniels Fund.
2011Colorado Meth Use & Attitudes Survey Highlights
Findings from the 2011 Colorado Meth Use & Attitudes Survey revealed that, compared to a 2009 benchmark conducted prior to the launch of the Colorado Meth Project, Colorado teens are significantly more aware of the dangers of trying Meth and strongly disapprove of trying the drug even once or twice. Teens also said the Colorado Meth Project’s campaign made them less likely to try Meth and prompted them to tell someone not to use the drug.
All statistics are sourced from the 2011 Colorado Meth Use & Attitudes Survey report, available at www.ColoradoMethProject.org/Research. The following highlights some of the survey’s principal findings:
Perceived Risks of Meth
- 88% of teens (up 9 points) now believe there is “great risk” in taking Meth just once or twice
Colorado teens are now more aware of specific effects of Meth use. Increases in perceptions of “great risk” in trying Meth just once or twice were reported in several risk areas measured since the benchmark survey in 2009, including:
- Getting hooked on Meth (94%, up 5 points)
- Losing control of themselves (90%, up 6 points)
- Making their problems worse (89%, up 5 points)
- Suffering tooth decay (83%, up 15 points)
- Having sex with someone they don’t want to (80%, up 6 points)
- Lack of hygiene (79%, up 11 points)
- Dying (79%, up 8 points)
- Stealing (75%, up 13 points)
- Getting insomnia or not being able to sleep (73%, up 10 points)
- 82% of teens say their friends would give them a “hard time” if they were to use Meth (up 6 points)
- 71% say they have told their friends not to use Meth
Advertising Awareness and Effectiveness
- 97% of teens in Colorado have seen anti-Meth advertising, and 67% have seen an ad at least once per week
- 88% of teens asked report the ads made them less likely to try or use Meth
- 81% of teens asked say the ads gave them new information or told them things they didn’t know about Meth
- 63% of teens asked say the ads prompted them to tell someone not to use Meth
- 97% of teens asked say that if their brother, sister, or a friend were thinking about trying Meth they would want them to see or hear one of the Colorado Meth Project’s ads
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